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Strain comparisons in inhibitory discrimination learning and novel object recognition procedures

Waite, L.; Bonardi, C.; Stevenson, C. W.; Cassaday, H. J.

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L. Waite

Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience


Strain differences in visual abilities and exploratory tendencies can confound rats’ performance in cognitive tests of learning and memory. In the present study we compared the performance of albino Wistar and pigmented Lister Hooded rats in appetitive conditioning and recognition memory procedures, specifically within-subjects inhibitory learning (A+ /AX-) and novel object recognition (NOR) variants. The inhibition task included an excitatory training stage and summation and retardation tests. Difference scores were used to help control for individual variation in baseline nosepoke responding. NOR was tested after a 10 min delay, following 24hr delay and using a recency variant. Discrimination ratios were used to control for individual variation in exploratory activity. In the inhibitory learning procedure, Lister Hooded showed more magazine activity prior to stimulus presentations than Wistar rats but this was a transient effect restricted to day 1 of excitatory training. There was no strain difference in associative learning at the excitatory training stage. The Wistars went on to show some performance advantage at the inhibitory discrimination stage and marginally stronger retardation test performance. In the NOR tasks, there was no significant effect of strain on cognitive performance, but the Wistars showed some advantage in the 10 min delay variant, whereas in the 24hr delay and relative recency NOR variants, the Lister Hooded rats showed some advantage. Overall the results of the present study confirm the suitability of Wistar rats for use in associative learning and basic NOR procedures.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 11, 2021
Online Publication Date Aug 14, 2021
Publication Date Oct 15, 2021
Deposit Date Aug 20, 2021
Publicly Available Date Aug 20, 2021
Journal Physiology and Behavior
Print ISSN 0031-9384
Electronic ISSN 1873-507X
Publisher Elsevier BV
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 240
Article Number 113557
Keywords Behavioral Neuroscience; Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
Public URL
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